Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Loving Tonola

La Semana (The week)
Monday - It rained all day. Like literally all day! Sunday and Monday was nonstop! It was awesome! I’ve never seen so much rain in my life. I was completely soaked by the end of the day but it was totally worth it. We got a referral to visit a family who live out aways. Familia Bosa... it’s like 30 minutes to walk there. So we went and it was worth it.
The family was so nice and so willing to listen. As a missionary you CANNOT teach a lesson unless the Spirit is present and unless you follow the promptings. We were planning on teaching them about the Restoration but it didn’t feel right, so we bumped to the Plan of Salvation. As we were teaching the Plan of Salvation it still didn’t feel right so we started to talk about another topic. We did this for a little while and it was choppy, unorganized, and we didn’t know what to do. I said a prayer in my heart to get help to find out what to teach. I know my companion did too. Right after that, the mom of the family asked a question about baptism. BOOM! It came to us, Gospel of Jesus Christ focusing on baptism! Just like that. It was a great lesson. The spirit was there. They want to get baptized. I love it
Tuesday - All our appointments fell through in the morning and we couldn’t figure out what to do. We saw this girl we contacted a while ago on the street but wasn’t interested. I had this feeling that we should go talk to her. She was far away but I told my comp and we went to go talk to her. She turned a corner and we lost her. I thought " what was the point of that" but then we saw a friend of Jafet, one of our investigators, and we had a great lesson with him and his super catholic grandma and his 2 siblings. Bottom line... Listen to the Spirit. He knows what he’s doing!!!
Wednesday - District meeting. It was awesome! I love the missionaries in my district. We did service for Hermana Flor, another one of our investigators. She told me she didn’t want me to help her rake her yard because she said I’m white and probably have never worked a day in my life... holy smoke did I show her how a white guy rakes leaves (thanks dad for the years of labor in the yard) She was impressed and we had a great lesson.
Thursday - Really hard day. Not much success at all and me and my companion were fasting for Jafet. It’s hard to fast and be constantly walking and trying to find people to teach, but it was totally worth it.
Friday - We went to a sick member’s house and sang him some hymns. He loved it and said that I’ve really improved on my Spanish since I first got to Tonala. It helped comfort me from the previous day of not a lot of success. We went to see Japhet again and played him in game of soccer for who gets to say the opening prayer... we won! Against him and 3 other little kids! It was so cool. There was a bunch of them cheering me and my companion on and after the victory we taught them all about prayer. We got a picture with them and they flipped out! They love the missionaries!
Sat and Sun - We taught Carlos' mom and dad again. They’re so awesome. I wish Carlos didn’t work so much so we could teach them all at the same time. But that family is amazing. After the lesson they fed us dinner. Let me rephrase that... they fed us their dinner. These people are so loving and humble. They gave me and my companion like 3 fish each while they shared 1 fish. We tried to tell them that we don’t need a lot of food and that they should have the majority but they insisted. Such a humbling experience. These people have nothing, but give us everything. I love these people.
I gave a talk in church the next day. I really wasn’t that nervous until I got up there. But it was on prayer so it was easy to bear testimony and share scripture. After church we met this man named Adam and his wife and kids. He was really drunk. We got talking and they wanted to hear more about our message. We talked to them about repentance; that through the help of God we can change and then be cleansed through baptism. They all said yes to baptism and it was a great experience. I hope Adams is sober next time because I don’t know how much he got out of it. But his family loved it. When we got home my companion Elder Reyes Leyva got a call and he’s now the new district leader... of a new district! They’re splitting the district. So we are now Tonala 2!
Great week with great experiences!
Now for the random awesome stuff that happened
The most important is... I LOVE CHURROS! There’s all these people with carts that sell a bag of 5 churros for 10 pesos... that’s like 75 cents! I also saw an ant eater and I met an AZ guy that worked at the Marriot resort in Tucson! It was nice to talk to someone from home!
Love you all and miss you all! Can’t wait for another great week!!!!

Elder Hunt
With Japhet and our soccer friends

I love Curros!


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Normal week?

I don’t think any week during this mission could ever be described as normal or that a "normal" week even exists.
Before I start let me tell you some general and random things. Spanish is HARD! I’m learning so much but there’s so much more I need to learn. It’s hard to understand the people and sometimes for them to understand me. Some of the other missionaries have said that I am learning the language faster than most but I don’t think so, I think they are just trying to encourage me. My trainer makes sure to speak to me in as much Spanish as possible and it helps me a ton.
This week I ate sea turtle eggs, a nasty shrimp and squid soup that looked really good but tasted nasty, and a giant hamburger at a member’s house. It wasn’t really a hamburger but it was really good. Some have asked how big Tonala is. It’s small and only has a branch of the Church here of about 70 or 80members.
Last p-day was great. We played futbol and it rained a lot. It’s rainy season right now and is starting to cool off and you know what comes after rainy season…. MANGO SEASON! Gosh I can’t wait. Apparently there’s like 40 different kinds of mangos and every single one is bien rico! Can’t wait for January. But then come March and April and Tonala will again live up to its full name and glory and will once again be the Land of the Sun. So I’m going to enjoy these cool and extremely wet days.
I had the opportunity to go to Tuxtla this week to get my green card. It was so nice! We got to president’s house and there was 15 boxes of Domino’s Pizza! I had 7 pieces. I’ve never eaten so much in my life! But the best thing was seeing all the elders from the MTC! We were all talking about the crazy things we’ve seen, eaten, and done and what our areas are like, and how the language is coming. It was just fantastic. Before we went home we went to the mall and definitely hit up that food court. Big Macs, Whoppers and soft serve ice cream. I missed it so much!
So all in all Tuxtla was amazing, but once I got home we got straight to work, we gave a less-active member a blessing and he had some specific things he wanted to be mentioned in the prayer, things I didn’t know how to address or even say, so before I gave him the blessing I said a little prayer, simply asking Heavenly Father that I could be led by spirit and know what to say and how to say it. It is quite an incredible experience to give a blessing and know exactly what to say but not know what you’re saying. The Spirit was strong during that blessing and was leading me with every word. It was an amazing experience. He came to church that Sunday with his son ( who’s an investigator) and they stayed the whole time.
Thursday morning we got a call that we're doing exchanges. I was to be with elder Gil for a day. Elder Gil is from Mexico and goes home in 2 transfers. He’s an awesome missionary! He’s so funny and reminds me a lot of Kelby. He and I got along super well for the 30 hours we worked together. It was nice to see another side of town and to visit some other members and people. Me and Elder Gil taught a great restoration lesson to a kid about 17 years old and found a bunch of people to teach. Too bad it was in Elder Gil’s area and not ours. Anyway we went back to our own areas and did the usual, then Sunday came. Gosh yesterday was so awesome! Before lunch we were trying to find a referral and asked this guy for directions. Five minutes later we were in his house and taught him a great lesson on the restoration. He was a little hesitant about things but he accepted our invitation to get baptized and read the Bok of Mormon. He’s kind of old and his name is Jose. I can’t wait to teach him again. After lunch we had an appointment with a young adult named Carlos. Carlos is a really big and jolly guy, give him 40 years and he’ll be the perfect Mexican Santa. He was so excited to talk with us and is very religious. When we taught him about the restoration everything made sense to him. He’s golden! We committed him to baptism and when we asked him he just said “well if what you’re telling me is really true then of course I’ll get baptized, why wouldn’t I" it was so perfect! I can’t wait to teach him again. The Lord prepares people, I know he does, and I know that Elder Reyes Leyva and I contacted some of those people this week. The Church is true, simple as that.
I love and miss you all so much! Thank you for the prayers I receive strength from them every day.
Elder Hunt

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Tonola is Hot!!!

Tonala is really hot!
I’m going to stray from writing chronologically this time and just tell you what happened this week. Tonala literally means land of the sun! Let me put it this way; I’m constantly wet. Not from rain or anything like that( it did rain this week really hard though, it was really nice and every road turned into a river) but I’m wet from SWEAT. It’s so hot that I sweat when I shower!
One thing about a mission, there is always something to write in your journal. Like the other day we made a contact on the street and we showed this man a picture of the temple and then he started going off about how true the Mormon Church is. Here’s this random guy basically bearing his testimony of the church. Come to find out he visited the Salt Lake City visitor center and loves the temples, so we asked him if he wanted to meet with us and learn more and talk more about it and he said no, he doesn’t have time. Then another guy we talked to was really drunk and said everyone on earth are aliens from other planets and that God is just a giant alien. He then started talking about how we can draw closer to god by eating fréjoles (beans), the guy was real weird.
I FINALLY PLAYED GUITAR!!!! We had to go to the church for a meeting and while we were waiting one of the youth had his guitar. It was amazing. I was so happy. I played I See Fire by Ed Sheeran, Hotel California, Haleluja, and some Led Zeplin. Gosh it was great, it felt so good.
My companion and I gave a man who was really sick a blessing this week too. My companion had a feeling we should visit him because he wasn’t at church on Sunday so we did. When he saw us he looked at us and said, "just what I need". It was a great experience. Sunday at Church was funny. No one plays the piano so we sing accapella and, not meaning to be rude, no one here can sing…. at all! You were right mom I wish I learned more hymns before I came out. You were right and I was wrong. But I would have you know that whenever me and my companion start a lesson we always start with a prayer AND a hymn. I like it a lot. So there’s something you can be proud of.
We’re teaching this kid named Japhet. I think I may have already told you about him. Anyway he knows so much and wants to get baptized but his mom says no. She said that he’s getting confirmed in the Catholic Church and there’s nothing he or we can do about it. When she said that I just wanted to go off on her... but I didn’t, partially because I couldn’t speak Spanish and partially because that would obviously not be a way to handle things, so me and Elder Reyes Leyva are praying hard for Japhet.
The food is getting better and better. I’m starting to really like it. Yesterday was fast Sunday a family we visited made a ton of food, we had fried ham, fish, corn tamale, deep fried cheese and a ton of beans. I ate it all and thought I was going to explode! We ate it all with tortillas. The way they eat here is with a fork in one hand and a tortilla in the other. I love it.
Here’s a parting thought….one of my favorite talks from conference was from President Uchtdorf in the Preisthood session. He talked about the example the 12 apostles set when they said " Lord is it I?" not "oh it’s probably him". Another talk I loved was the one from Elder Tad R. Callister. I can’t say it better than him... "I could never express enough gratitude for my main gospel teachers: my parents". Thanks for trying hard to raise me the right way mom and dad. You’re the best!
Well, that’s my week. I feel so rushed. I love you and miss you all a ton!
Elder Hunt

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Emergency Transfer

Yep... you read it right. Emergency transfer. This has been one of the craziest weeks of my life! Let me just start from the beginning.
MONDAY was p-day and we again went to Walmart. I had to stop at BK before we went back home. I got a whopper and it was amazing! We went straight to the church and played futbol rapido. It’s soccer but with a smaller ball and smaller court. Really fun.
TUESDAY was zone conference. We woke up at 5:00 and got to the bus station to go to San Cristobol! It was such a beautiful drive. San Cris is total jungle and absolutely beautiful. It was a tad chilly but it was so nice to be there. Zone conference was so great, Presidente George is an amazing man. He told us his rules for the mission are simple and at times a little laid back because he has a lot of trust in us. We better not disappoint him. I didn’t really understand a whole lot more than that because it was all in Spanish! We got back around 5:00 and met president at the church at 7:00 to interview one of our investigators. His name is Marcos. Marcos is a great kid but has had a rough life so president had to interview him. After the successful interview, president pulled me aside with Elder Shelley and asked if I wanted to go to the coast. I and my comp laughed but it was not a joke. An elder named Elder Ruiz has had some eye problems, so president needed me to switch with him. I didn’t know what to think. Elder Shelley and I were doing great and I was really liking the people and weather of Comitan, but I guess the Lord needs me in Tonala. So I told Pres. George “I’ll go if you need me". It was a really crazy day.
WEDNESDAY was a regular day. President George called us and gave us the schedule for the transfer, other than that it was a regular day of teaching and contacting.
THURSDAY we picked up elder Ruiz, and we were a trio that day, Elder Shelley, Elder Ruiz and I. Marcos got baptized that day and it was awesome, the spirit was so strong! Before he was baptized he asked me to play the piano for him so I did. I played the only song I know, Sweet Hour of Prayer, and the elders and sister missionaries sang it. It was awesome. It was a last minute thing but ran pretty smooth! We took pictures and said goodbye and that night at the apartment we ordered tacos for a little going away party for me! It was awesome and fun, just us 3 missionaries eating tacos and drinking soda but it was a party to me!
FRIDAY I woke up at 5:00for the transfer and left the bus station around 7:00. The big travel buses are really nice and they play movies, but here in Mexico they don’t have a movie rating system so a lot of the times they play rated R movies. Let’s just say I do a LOT of reading on the bus rides! My first stop was Tuxtla. From there I went straight to Tonala. It was another amazing and beautiful ride. It was about 2.5 hrs. from Tuxtla to Tonala. When I stepped off the bus the heat and humidity was like a slap in the face! My new trainer is Elder Reyes Leyva. He’s an American but is Hispanic which helps a lot with translation! He is really cool and has only been out for 9 months.
When I got off the bus he took me to our apartment. It’s 2 stories and has like 3 bathrooms and is hot as heck! But it is so nice!!!!!!! My comp informed me that this area hasn’t had missionaries for a long time and we’re opening it up again! So were doing a lot of contacting and a lot of trust building with the members. They must like him because it was his birthday Friday and he got 3 cakes and a pizza! We ate a lot that day.
WEEKEND was General Conference and I watched it in ENGLISH! I was so happy. We sat in a room at the church with AC and a flat screen TV and watched conference in English! I’m so glad I was able to understand it! There were so many great talks. I’ve never loved and been so excited for general conference!

Sunday after conference we went to lunch and I experienced a little miracle. Actually it might seem little to you but to me it was a mighty miracle. You remember that mole sauce I told you about and how gross it is. Not one missionary that I know of likes it because it really is pretty terrible. Well guess what was for lunch. You guessed it, Mole, and not just a little, they served up a whole lot of mole. Now I don’t want to offend these people because we are just opening up this area, so I know I need to eat it all. So I start praying….hard. And then the miracle happened. When I took my first bite I tasted....nothing. That’s right, I didn’t taste a thing. I took a drink of the horchata to make sure my tongue was still working and the horchata tasted like it usually does, sweet and full of flavor with a little cinnamon, but I couldn’t taste the mole at all. It was amazing, I finished the plate with ease! After that lunch appointment I asked my comp if the mole tasted any different to him. He said "nope, same ol’ mole." I said another prayer after that, thankful for the help I had received.
This week was so crazy and so much happened but it was one of my favorites. The Church is true. God loves us and if we need his help, he WILL give it to us. I love and miss you all so much. Thanks you for the letters and your prayers, they help me every day.
Elder Hunt

Marcos' baptism

Sunday, October 5, 2014

A BetterWeek

HOLA!! This was a much better week! Still incredibly hard but much better! So I’ll go chronologically.
Monday was p-day. We went to WALMART!!!! It was awesome! I miss America, but love Mexico. I got a sweater and a bunch of food. For breakfast I mostly just have eggs and toast or cereal. I’ve had French toast a couple times too. After Walmart we came back to the apartment and washed our clothes….by hand. I miss washing machines (not that I ever used one). But it was a fun experience. We went to FHE at the casa de familia lulu. We had a lesson on the Holy Ghost and ate rice milk and pan (bread). I LOVE the pan here!! It’s so good and cheap. Me and my comp go there a lot but are trying to lessen the amount of time we go!
Tuesday we had brown water... so for an hour and a half we went on the roof and cleaned out the water tank with a broom, it was supper dirty, there was mud at the bottom of the tank but we got it clean. Now we have like a green-brown water problem. It’s barely noticeable but it’s definitely there. A member in the ward told us it’s a dead animal... we have checked but that will be project after we go to Walmart again.
Wednesday was hard. The language was killing me. Luckily I have a really awesome trainer (he kind of reminds me of Ty Brown because he’s just so chill and really funny (be sure to tell the Brown family that). He told me that I need to enjoy being bad at the language and enjoy the beginning of the mission because I only serve this kind of mission once. So I focused my thoughts along those lines this week and it was much better. Throughout the week I’ve seen how I’ve received blessings though obedience and hard work. It’s a true principle!! I could go on and on with a list of ways the Lord has blessed me and watched over me just this week! I’m so grateful, and have been able to recognize his hand in these things.
Thursday we went to a city called Comalapa because my trainer is the district leader and needed to interview some people for baptism. We made the 2 hr. drive in a 15 seater van.... it was uncomfortable! Comalapa is literally 10 min from the Guatemala boarder and super hot but very beautiful! Like a really hot comitan.
OK, now I want to tell you some crazy awesome things about this week. I saw 2 dead dogs in the road. I had this drink from one of our investigators that is basically fermented corn with the texture of vomit... it tastes the way it sounds. Max warned me about it. It was bad! I saw a crazy drunk guy without pants do summersaults across the road while singing a song in Spanish. I ate more pan (bread) because it’s awesome! I ate vulture. I had this tea called tea limon. It’s an herbal tea that all the members drink and it’s the bomb! It tastes like fruit loops!!! I gave a blessing of health to a sick member in the ward. It was hard because I don’t speak Spanish but it was a fantastic experience. And finally.... were baptizing this young man named Marcos this coming week! He’s really funny and really wants to be baptized! I’ll be sure to send you all pictures of him and his family next week. He has a nephew that reminds me so much of Malcom! He’s super cute and hilarious. He tries to talk to me but his vocab is more advanced than mine so our conversations are mostly si and no!

I can’t wait for conference! There’s a lot of gringos in this area so they might play it in English in one of the rooms. I’m praying they do. I am so dang excited for general conference. Think about it, a prophet of God is talking to us along with the apostles! You all better take notes! ha

I love you all so much! Thanks for the letters and stories. I pray for you all every day! I miss you a ton!

Love ya
Elder Hunt